January 3, 2014 Leaving Banff
Jan 4 Looks like it snowed last night, anyone know what
the hwy is like? On the plus side, my neighbours left
Jan 4 Castle Mountain on 1A
Jan 4 1A to Lake Louise 181 marathons done, had 3 runners
helping push Caesar, on a very difficult, scenic, snowy
road. 19 marathons to go
Jan 5 Leaving Lake Louise
Just crossed the border, #Alberta to #BritishColumbia,
total surprise. Eight provinces down, final one to go!
Corinne and I are smashing the Rockies
Jan 5 182nd marathon complete into the town of Field,
after a 400m, spectacular "leg burner" decent
- 18 marathons to go!
Jan 6 Spent the last 15hrs at 'Bugling Elk Guesthouse'
with the fire place burning, this is going to be difficult
Jan 6 About to tackle marathon 183, Leaving the guesthouse,
I seen this.
Jan 6 Leaving the town of Field, a teacher, spontaneously
shouted me in to chat with her school of 8 kids
Jan 6 Hwy 1 12 miles in, slightly cold at -15C, but still
descending, with awesome views:
Jan 6 Made it to the chalet, way further than I expected.
All that matters, is that another day, is most certainly
Jan 6 Invited back to a woofing farm, to eat the workers
left over dinner, not complaining, not one bit
Jan 8 BBC NEWS: And here's @MrJamieMcDonald & his
view of Canada's Rockies when we spoke to him this morning.Catch
his story tomorrow
Jan 8 Motivational talk in Lady Grey School Golden, included
kids running on the spot to prove movement makes us happy,
Jan 8 Had dinner with the #Golden BC mayor, Christina
Benty, in the highest restaurant of North America, @KickingHorseMtn
3rd January 2014, leaving Banff.
Making the decision to leave Banff, was a difficult one,
after spending nearly 24 hours doing Skype and telephone
interviews with media, I felt this huge pressure as my story
was going out to millions of people. The only release from
it, would be to do what I was supposed to be doing, running.
Although phone calls were coming in, more emails, more
interviews, I had to put it to the side and get out there,
even after a big storm had hit. I was uncertain if the highway
was clear from snow, but I went for it anyway.
A very late start leaving Banff at 2pm - it was very surreal
and the first time I seen the after effect of the media
attention. Within minutes of running through the town, Leigh
Clark stopped me with his two children to say "I'm
really sorry to hear what happened, I feel kind of ashamed
as a Canadian to think this happened." One of his kids
walked over with a donation and handed me a $20bill. I replied
with something along the lines of “thank you, that's
really nice of you, honestly, there is no need to be ashamed
though. My whole journey has shown me how amazing Canada
is, despite the struggle of the run. I've been helped thousands
of times through this country, by so many people. It’s
a shame that of those thousands of interactions, it’s
one bad incident that causes things to blow up. The world
as we know it through the media isn't often how the world
truly is, it's such a shame the good stories don’t
get as much attention. I just hope people got my message
that how I perceive Canada and the world hasn't changed
in the slightest and no one else's should, either.”
Running through the heart of the town, all the people in
the street of Banff, were shouting"good luck"
and "we wish you well" and many were coming over
to donate. I couldn't believe the reaction, for me this
was reassurance, it told me everything I needed to know.
Once the distraction of the people had gone and I was heading
to the highway, my bruised hip was causing me quite a lot
of discomfort. When I was punched New Year’s Eve night,
in the head, I took a fall and landed on the hard, tiled
floor. Despite the pain, it isn’t going to stop me.
It's just adding to all the other injuries I already have,
so I'll keep embracing the pain which seems to be helping,
almost fuelling me.
Hitting the highway I was happy to see the snow ploughs
were out, clearing the hard shoulder. Usually there are
toots from the cars, (which I think wearing a Flash outfit
seems to cause a reaction) but this time was different.
People were hanging their heads out of the cars, shouting
"you can do it" and "keep going." I
was choking up, I felt support like nothing before.
A few miles in, Martha Birkett pulled over to wish me well
for the remainder of my journey. Martha has been following
me since Calgary. She's definitely a caring Momma Bear and
has been a huge help in the fundraising department. Martha
rode a horse across Canada a few years ago, raising hundreds
of thousands of dollars for children too, so she’s
using her experience and making a huge impact in raising
funds for the children's hospitals that I am raising money
or. Now I'm getting too far away from her, too far for Martha
to drive out and see me, we had ourselves a proper goodbye.
Although my hip being sore, having had a couple of days
off my legs were fresh and I was running strongly, the knots
of pressure were easing with every mile, it felt great to
be back on the road.
With the running late start, before I knew it, the sun
disappeared behind the mountains, I knew I had to run through
the night if I was going to make it to "Mountain Castle
Chalets", where a bed awaited - it was either that
or digging a snow cave. I feared running through darkness,
for some reason I felt more daunted, especially in the mountains.
I attached my red, Flashing boobies around my chest to light
myself up like a Christmas tree. It was enough for cars
to notice, many cars of them stopped to see if was alright.
My legs were handling the gradual incline well, even pushing
Caesar - I kept telling myself "I'm running through
the mountains, not up them." Miles went by quickly,
my brain was still racing from the most surreal 48 hours
of my life.
At 7pm, Bill Keeling pulled in to give me some natural
power bars, with 13 miles under my belt and seven more to
go, with more inclines to climb, I ate five of them. The
energy boost got me through another 5 miles until it started
to snow, quite heavily.
As the snow began to fall, I knew this was the problem
of the Rockies that could be most dangerous. In the space
of minutes the hard shoulder had a layering of snow which
made it difficult to run on and push Caesar. I've been give
snow grips to attach on the bottom of my shoes, I tried
to put them on but because I haven't used them before, I
couldn't attach them on, especially with only a tiny light,
coming from the head torch. I decided to "crack on",
quickly - I knew I was close.
Racing uphill, slipping from time to time, I still managed,
with my fairly fresh legs, to power on through to the turn
off to Castle Mountain. Although the last kilometre was
off the highway and hadn't been ploughed - I lent all my
weight into Caesar - and used all my upper body strength
to push through the thick now, to finally make it to the
I spent the night, in a beautiful cabin having never stayed
in one before, doing all my necessary strength and conditioning
exercises, yoga and self massage therapy with a stick before
retiring to bed.
The first thought on my brain when I woke up was "how
much did it snow last night, can I run?" Half asleep,
I walked over to open the front door, Caesar was white,
covered in snow inches thick. On top of Caesar, sat two
Budweiser’s, with a note that read:
"Good morning! We hope your run goes smoothly and
you stay safe for your last jaunt. Been following you in
the news and was heartbroken when we heard of our recent
troubles. Please have a couple of beers, as a gesture of
GOOD, Canadian Hospitality! Sincerely, your neighbours in
cabin 12. Cheers!"
After yesterday’s incredible, vocal support, donations
of over $400 and the two beers placed on Caesar, I’m
feeling more confident than ever.
Here's a "catch up" blog, bigger than usual
because I'm so behind with it all - running from the Stoney
Nakoda Resort Casino, to Banff. If you have 20 minutes spare,
Entering the Rocky Mountains with Crazy Larry.
In the lobby, was who I thought it would be, CRAZY Larry,
with his bicycle - waiting to spend sometime with me. Larry
doesn't have a home, he cycles around in a 300km area and
allows people from the goodness of their heart to help him
out, he's a local legend, a little bonkers. He greeted me
(like he did the other day) with a double hi-five and big
hug, "Jamie, you're my Christmas present, I can't wait
to spend sometime with you." He then walked around
in the busy hotel lobby with his video camera on, in front
of lots of people, shouting "this is THE Jamie McDonald,
he's insane, I am with him, YES - do you know who this guy
is???!!!" I quickly realized Larry was over the edge
and never coming back again, I couldn't quite grasp what
he was all about. I'm not going to lie, I was anxious about
my run with him, his name was "crazy" Larry for
We tackled the first 10 metres being blown to bits, the
wind was gusting to 80kmh in our face, but it didn't seem
to dampen crazy Larry's spirits, "MAN, I've never been
in winds like this before, I feel alive!" He then went
into a laughing frenzy, like he wouldn't want it any other
way. He reminded me of kids in the wind, the way children
go slightly potty. As we continued to climb the foothills
of the Rocky Mountains, we were almost at a stand still,
crawling at 2km per hour, slower than a snail. Larry now
had his butt on his handle bars so his feet could touch
the ground to keep him balanced, in the space of an hour
he nearly fell off his bike fifty times, at least. Using
his feet on the ground he managed to edge in front of me
to try and break the wind, I really liked the gesture.
After many kilometres being ticked off our list, slowly
- we had a huge surprise - Julie Jenkins and her son Ryder.
Julie (the fundraising extraordinaire) who's raised over
$18,000 for the Alberta's Children's Hospital, was very
sick when I left her town of Brooks and she didn't get a
chance to give me a proper goodbye, so here she was. Julie's
mother instincts were working over time the minute we met
"do you want some food? I have meat. Are you thirsty?
I have coconut water. Where are you staying tonight? Let
me sort that out."
Another car turned up, it was Robin Melling from the British
Army Training Unit in Suffield (where I had my survival
training a month ago to prepare for the Rockies). I couldn't
believe it was Robin, out of all of the Army officers Robin
was the person that sternly said "the only advice I
can give is DON'T RUN THE ROCKIES THIS TIME OF YEAR. Seriously,
I would recommend that you come back again in the summer.
I'll say it again Jamie, DON'T DO IT." Now a month
later, Robin was now by my side, in his running gear, saying
"I still think you are absolutely mad but can I run
with you?" I replied "of course you can."
I introduced him to my new partner in crime, crazy Larry.
I could see Robin was trying to measure up Larry, like most
people when they first meet him. After the meet and greet,
we were off once again into the mind blowing headwind.
A few more kilometres went down, inch by inch and I noticed
that the Mountains around us were high, I was told that
I wasn't in the Mountains until Banff so I didn't give it
a second thought. Then crazy Larry went into a full on commentary
"Jamie McDonald... You are officially in the Rocky
Mountains, you've made it! Say hello my friend because the
Mountains are saying hello to you!!!" I really enjoyed
my introduction to the Rockies and Larry was softening my
heart the more time I spent with him.
The three of us battled into the wind, on a steep incline
through the valley of the Rockies. It was acting like a
turbine, channeling all of its power, condensed, into a
narrow valley. Robin and I took it in turns to run with
Caesar, although quite a fews times Robin would refuse my
turn "don't worry, use my energy while I'm here."
Honestly, jokes a side, pushing a 65kg baby stroller uphill
into a 80kmh headwind, simply, makes you blow carbon dioxide
out of your ass - even if you had the endurance of Mo Farah
and strength of Hulk Hogen.
Robin and I were giving it everything we had, and so was
Larry. Through the hellish wind, crazy Larry started singing,
quite rhythmically but also quite manically "Ain't
nothin' gonna to break my stride. Nobody's gonna slow me
down, oh-no, I got to keep on movin'. Ain't nothin' gonna
break my stride..." Well, Larry just rustled up a emotions
in Robin and I, before we knew it we were all singing are
absolute hearts out "Nobody's gonna slow me down, oh-no...."
At one point Robin started to use his hands like he was
swimming through the wind. Larry had now broken Robin's
skepticism down too, all of our hearts were warm.
I couldn't help but think, one guy dressed as Flash, the
second in luminous biking gear and the third guy dressed
all in black like an under cover agent - all singing and
dancing down one of the most busiest highways I've ever
been on was as crazy as crazy Larry.
At kilometre 13, after our little parade, we were joined
by another runner Leslie Gerein, this adventurous girl hiked
from the Canadian border to the Mexican border, through
mountains covering 2650 miles, absolutely solo. By now I
could tell Robin was really sick of pushing Caesar, so Leslie
got behind him with fresh legs and pushed him like she's
done it for years.
Julie turned up to give her goodbye and to tell me that
she'd arranged a spot in Dead Man's Flat, Copperstone Resort.
So we all continued on like troopers, well kind of. When
Leslie started to go into her adventure stories she said,
"I found it so hard to communicate with people from
pure exhaustion, during my hike and after. And then you
blog, you video and keep on top of everything, how do you
do it Jamie?" I was right at the silent, exhausted
stage when she asked the question but I still forced out
a few words "I think people are more understanding,
people get that I can't sometimes speak, at least I hope
they do. As for the blogging, twitter, youtube, website,
emailing, phone calls, media, I'm not keeping on top of
everything, I'm now at the stage where it's impossible -
but I am learning to cope with it." I then went back
into my silence and listened to the people I was with chat
away, while I plodded away with them.
We eventually made it with the resort in eyes view, 1km
away - once in view I was back to chatting, knowing I had
made it. Robin's wife Charlotte and two children Harry and
Ben (with their Rugby England hats on) found us to run the
last kilometre. Suddenly the smiles were everywhere as we
arrived at the resort, crazy Larry gave some hip, hip hoorays
with everyone joining in.
After the usual five hour sleep, I went to leave the Copperstone
Resort at Deadman's Flats and low and behold, there was
Crazy Larry in the lobby with his huge massive grin and
wide eyes waiting for me. "Are you ready?" He
said it like I was the next contestant on the Price is Right.
We hit the road and started heading towards Canmore. The
surrounding ice capped mountains were spectacular, it was
hard to digest the magnitude of them, this helped the run
fly by! I also think it was because Larry was quite chatty,
"quite". He would talk...and talk...and talk some
more, and then talk a little more. To mix up the chatting,
he turned it into singing, Larry started playing music -
"Isn't she lovely..." whilst nodding his head
exactly like Stevie Wonder. Not quite the peppy running
music needed, but none the less, we both sung our hearts
out. We sung to such a ridiculous state that we had no choice
but to burst into laughter, the kind of double-over, gut
wrenching, stitch in your side kind of laugh. I laughed
so hard, I had to stop running, I totally lost my breath.
When I hang out with Larry, time zips by - I completely
lose myself in the moment with him, as the saying goes "two
peas in a pod".
As we started our way into Canmore, we were joined by Mandi
(a familiar face from Red Cliffe). She was joining us for
our last 4km into town. Soon as we ran into the outskirts
of town, horns started blaring and there were all sorts
of people out on the streets waving. One British Lady, English
Sally came out, tearing up and said "I've been following
you for months", and then gave me a ginormous hug before
we had to race off. Larry reminded me to take it all in
and be aware of the buzz that Canmore was offering, even
though it felt like one big race, Flash time. We met up
with a man Larry knew from Mountain Radio and he said I
had to meet this fellow, Rob Murray. He had interviewed
me prior so it was great to be able to thank him for the
coverage. I went in, quickly shook his hand as I thought
to myself, how this all seemed like a dream, my head was
racing. After we left Rob, we headed over to Tracy Laval
from Energetic Body Work who was prepared to treat me with
a massage. I was lying on the bed ready, but my mind was
spinning a million miles a minute thinking about the buzz
of the town. I kept asking Tracy a thousand questions which
triggered her to realize that I was needing to unwind. She
would answer with one word answers and say "Jamie,
just do what you have to do to zone out and think about
you." We finished up the massage and I found myself
chilled, Bob Marley style.
Now heading over to Communitea Cafe for a delicious spot
of lunch, Crazy Larry was standing in the middle of a crowd
before I got there. There I found myself bumping into Clara
Hughes who's a six time Olympic medalist in cycling and
speed skating. Larry had gathered all sorts of people to
cheer and applaud me as I walked into the restaurant. With
all the buzz Larry had created outside the cafe (and in),
we were unable to have a chance for a proper chat. I later
found out that Clara sent out a lovely tweet that read "just
had a chance to say hi to a wonderful human being @MrJamieMcDonald
in Canmore.. he's run all the way from Newfoundland! I think
he makes people smile wherever he goes. Canada is lucky
to have him travel our land!" Being tweeted by an amazing
Olympic Medalist, was so touching.
As I entered the cafe, I was warmly greeted by Marnie and
her little superhero fella, who was wearing a cape, just
like me. He had spent quite a lot of time in Alberta Children's
Hospital. He was at the age were he only knew a few words,
enough though that when his Mum pulled out the camera to
take a photo of the pair of us, he squeezed out through
his baby teeth "cheeeeese."
As I was devouring my pad thai, some kids came over to
say hi. There were three girls, so I thought I'd give a
little mention "did you know, that no girl has ever
ran across Canada before? Their faces all lit up, they were
all looking at each other, as their brains were digesting
the information. Let's hope we see this in the near future...
I think it would be awesome for Canada.
Larry and I continued on, heading towards Banff for New
Years Eve, we had a very special runner who joined us, Colin
Harris (who ran across Canada a few years ago) whilst promoting
"Take Me Outside". During his run, he visited
schools along the way, telling children to stop staring
at screens and to get outside, brilliant message. It really
made me smile when Colin told me all about his journey,
he had a support vehicle for the journey apart from two
of the months - he had to park up, run and then hitch hike
back to his vehicle, pure determination. Colin definitely
has a bit of "Ain't nothin' gonna to break my stride...."
When I asked Colin what was one of the most emotional times
in the journey, he replied "when my Dad came out to
be a support vehicle for two weeks. The first day I ran
with my Dad driving, I covered 50km and my Dad got out of
the car to say 'Colin, I know you're writing about this
and telling people about this, but know one can understand
what you're going through, nobody'. And then my Dad began
to cry, it was a seriously proud moment on both sides."
I knew exactly what Colin's Dad meant, you have to run across
Canada to feel exactly what the hardship is all about -
this also made me think about my Dad coming to the finish,
and I just can't wait. Larry cycled in between us with his
massive smile, shouting at the top of his voice "CAN
YOU FEEL THE LOVE, CAN YOU FEEL IT, I'M FEELING THE LOVE!"
With New Years Eve nearing, the three of us were all on
cloud nine running towards Banff. When we all departed I
had to chat with Larry explaining that it was time for me
to go back solo once I leave Banff. I think Larry would
have cycled, all the way to Vancouver and then probably
got on the flight to go back home to England with me. It
was a sad time because for three consecutive days by my
side - I've gradually come to love his huge moustache, big
heart and his "happy go lucky" personality. He's
helped me conquer a part of the Rocky Mountains, by Larry
being Larry - CRAZY.
As tough as it was to say goodbye, this journey is about
meeting new people and allowing others in.
There's only one crazy Larry.
Jan 8 At 8033ft, here's a sign right outside
the restaurant (on @KickingHorseMtn), it kind of freaked